“And Isis waited, saying to herself, ‘Poor creature! He is more wretched than ever.’ “And, as if he heard the thought, Osiris stirred, and the noise of his will shook the universe; the sun in its central seat alone stood firm. And Isis looked, but saw no change; then, while she was smiling, assured that her lord’s last invention was sped, suddenly the creature arose, and seemed to listen; and his face brightened, and he clapped his hands for joy, for Sounds were heard the first time on earth- sounds dissonant, sounds harmonious. The winds murmured in the trees; the birds sang, each kind a song of its own, or chattered in speech; the rivulets running to the rivers became so many harpers with harps of silver strings all tinkling together; and the rivers running to the seas surged on in solemn accord, while the seas beat the land to a tune of thunder. There was music, music everywhere, and all the time; so the man could not but be happy.

“Then Isis mused, thinking how well, how wondrous well, her lord was doing; but presently she shook her head: Colour, Motion, Sound- and she repeated them slowly- there was no element else of beauty except Form and Light, and to them the earth had been born. Now, indeed, Osiris was done; and if the creature should again fall off into wretchedness, her help must be asked; and her fingers flew- two, three, five, even ten stitches she took at once.

“And the man was happy a long time- longer than ever before; it seemed, indeed, he would never tire again. But Isis knew better; and she waited and waited, nor minded the many laughs flung at her from the sun; she waited and waited, and at last saw signs of the end. Sounds became familiar to him, and in their range, from the chirruping of the cricket under the roses to the roar of the seas and the bellow of the clouds in storm, there was not anything unusual. And he pined and sickened, and sought his place of moping by the river, and at last fell down motionless.

“Then Isis in pity spoke.

“‘My lord,’ she said, ‘the creature is dying.’ “But Osiris, though seeing it all, held his peace; he could do no more.

“‘Shall I help him?’ she asked.

“Osiris was too proud to speak.

“Then Isis took the last stitch in her knitting, and gathering her work in a roll of brilliance flung it off- flung it so it fell close to the man. And he, hearing the sound of the fall so near by, looked up, and lo! a Woman- the First Woman- was stooping to help him! She reached a hand to him; he caught it and arose: and nevermore was miserable, but evermore happy.”

“Such, O son of Hur! is the genesis of the beautiful, as they tell it on the Nile.”

She paused.